Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Love that Paul Douglas

I've mentioned the underrated Paul Douglas before and his comedic ability in a movie like The Solid Gold Cadillac. Another very entertaining comedy he made is Love That Brute, which is airing tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM ET on the Fox Movie Channel.

Paul Douglas stars as Big Ed, a gangster in 1920s Chicago. There's something missing in his life, though: a family. On day while sitting in the park, he meets Ruth (Jean Peters), a would-be singer who has had to take a job as a governess. Ed, wanting love and seeing that the lovely Ruth is taking care of a kid, offers Ruth a job as a governess paying much more than she could get from her current family. The only catch is that Ed doesn't have a kid, so he has to find one, which he does in the form of Harry the Kid, the orphaned son of a gangster. This presents a problem for Big Ed in some of the film's funnier scenes, as Harry is a would-be gangster himself, with a mouth to prove it. (Not obscene, of course, since the Production Code was in effect; but Harry certainly knows the gangster lingo!)

Big Ed knows that Ruth would leave him if she found out that he was a gangster; not only that, she's not really sure if she loves him, and isn't happy with his romantic advances. Eventually all these threads come together as Ruth learns that Ed is a gangster who stands accused of the murders of several rivals; meanwhile, some of the members of other gangs (led by Cesar Romero) would like to get in a revenge killing on Ed....

Love That Brute is a comedy, though, so you know that the problems are going to be resolved in a fairly happy way. Paul Douglas is good, heading up a nice ensemble cast of people who for whatever reason never quite made it to A-list status. In addition to those mentioned, there's also Keenan Wynn as Big Ed's henchman, and Arthur Treacher, playing yet another butler. Love That Brute isn't quite as sparkling as The Solid Gold Cadillac, but it's still enjoyable. It doesn't seem to have been released to DVD, though, so you're going to have to catch the Fox Movie Channel showings.

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